One of the strongest arguments in favor of drilling for Marcellus and other shale gas in the U.S. is that it provides a cheap alternative fuel for Americans—a “home grown” energy source that benefits everyone. It’s a simple and undeniable fact: Cheap energy translates into economic prosperity for all citizens. Cheap energy makes it easier for businesses to produce goods and services, and that means jobs.
Energy companies often make the “cheap domestic energy” argument when talking about the benefits of shale gas drilling—rightfully so. But when those same companies then start exporting natural gas, well, it’s a tad hypocritical. Exporting leads to less supplies here at home, and less supplies means higher prices. Energy companies will argue we have more than enough—an excess of natural gas—and by exporting they create more jobs here at home. But others (like MDN) are not so sure that argument holds up, especially for a nascent industry with huge potential to transform the energy picture here at home.
Range Resources is not waiting for a new multi-billion dollar cracker plant to be built in the Marcellus region to process the natural gas liquids they’re producing in the region. Instead, Range is going to send its natural gas liquids to Canada for cracking. Natural gas liquids contain ethane which can be processed or “cracked” to produce ethylene, a raw material used to make plastics.
Some 1,600 people attended the Shale Gas Insight 2011 conference held Wednesday and Thursday in Philadelphia. At yesterday’s second and final day of the conference, State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Michael Krancer spoke in place of Gov. Tom Corbett at a lunchtime keynote because the governor was responding to the widespread flooding crisis. Among his remarks was an observation that MDN has repeatedly made—that much of the opposition to shale gas drilling is ideological and philosophical, not scientific:
New regulations for the many gathering pipelines in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale drilling regions will be a top priority this fall according to Republican legislators. It’s not clear under existing PA law which government agency has jurisdiction and responsibility for inspecting intrastate pipelines—and that “who’s on first” problem has led to safety lapses, including explosions.